A Nurse With Attitude

Where Dark Cynical Humor, Nursing Issues, and Politics Seem to Merge

What you don’t know about your surgeon

   There’s a lot of things people having surgery doesn’t  really understand about the O.R.  Not claiming that a surgeon is immature, but being a circulator in an operating room is a lot like being a parent with small children.  When they are running around making noise, things are fine. But when they suddenly get quiet, well, you had better start looking around to see what devilment they may have gotten in to.  That is, depending on the circumstances, the bulk of the conversation in the OR has nothing to do with you, the patient, or the actual surgery currently in progress. The conversation depends mostly on how critical the actual surgery may be.  The conversation may be about the surgery if the surgeon is teaching a new resident how to do the procedure, or if there is something really interesting or if the patient has some bizarre or  abnormal anatomy. Otherwise the conversation may be about practically anything.  This may surprise a lot of people, but it is actually a good thing. If a surgeon and the rest of the surgical team have to give 100% of their attention to the procedure in progress, then usually, that means things are going very bad for the patient. Ninety percent of surgeries are very routine. The surgeon and the staff have probably done that procedure hundreds of times, and you really want them to perform it almost out of habit. If the surgeon has to focus and concentrate on what the next step, then this means that he is not familiar with the procedure… and this is a very very bad thing.  If the surgeon and the staff are talking about the ballgame last night, or the movie they just saw, or their plans for the weekend, then this means the surgery is going according to plan, with no surprises, and that’s exactly what you (the surgical patient) should want.

There are times during a procedure when things start to not go so well. When that happens…you can sense a change in the room. The light hearted conversation ceases, all conversation is focused at the task at hand and the music gets turned down…but when the crisis passes…it all resumes. Music is usually played during surgery…sometimes quite loud. You find it generally relaxes the surgeon, and in turn the rest of the team.  The music in the OR can range from smooth jazz, to hard rock, to gangster rap,  thank goodness for Pandora radio.


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